Lavandula officinalis, or angustifolia, commonly known as lavender essential oil is the most popular essential oil in use today. In the scientific community, it appears to be the second-most researched essential oil, only after tea tree or Melaluca alternifolia. This is probably due to the aromatic constituents, or properties of tea tree, and the widespread use of tea tree as an antiseptic, antiviral and anti-fungal agent.
The results are easily measured, and its actions are more familiar to the medical profession. Lavender’s actions are a little more challenging to define and measure, as its primary actions affect us on psychological and emotional levels. Yet recently, even these effects have been proven without a doubt by major studies performed at world-renown university and medical centers.
The overall action of Lavender oil is both calming and regenerating. This particular effect of lavender is quite profound, and should not be dismissed lightly, as it is a well known fact, that our bodies need to be relieved of stress in order to heal from any dis-ease or disorder.
The essential oil is distilled from the leaves, stems and flowers of the plant, and is a relatively good producer of oil, hence it being very available in the world today. The sweet smell alone bestows calm on folks of all ages; from the little ones all wound up when it’s time for bed, to the wizened generation whom may be recovering from illness, loss, or general fatigue. Lavender is beginning to gain quite an acclaim for its ability to calm and soothe anxiety in all people and turns out to be the number one oil for bringing peace when used in elder care for those suffering from anxiety due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Research being done by Aroma Blue is beginning to document the effects lavender has for people in recovery. In 100% of the people allowed to inhale lavender oil in the study, there was a noticeable calming and relaxing that occurred from the inhalation of lavender oil. Every participant expressed a noticeable calming effect, relaxing in the body, and an overall peaceful feeling when inhaling lavender oil.
It has done the same for lab rats, hamsters and mice in research laboratories (we do not condone the testing of any essential oil on animals — yet these studies have been performed and the data is worth discussing).
One of lavender’s greatest features is the incredible “ease of use”. The individual only needs to inhale a bit straight from the bottle. One can do the same by applying a couple drops to a tissue and inhaling from this, or placing a drop or two in the palm of the hand and cupping the hands over the nose while inhaling deeply of the sweet, herbal fragrance. You can use any sort of aromatherapy diffuser to get the scent into a larger environment, helping all those around you receive these benefits as well.
For those people experiencing trouble sleeping, it is suggested to sprinkle a couple of drops on your pillow or bedspread, or massage a couple of drops into the back of the neck before laying down to help the body relax and fall asleep. You do not want to use more than a couple of drops, as too much lavender will have the opposite effect.
Lavender is the only essential oil that can be used neat, or undiluted on the skin, and research has indicated that lavender has every property (anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, etc.) in the oil, it is a universal oil, in that it can be used to counteract almost any condition in the body. So while it is touted as an excellent oil for psychological and emotional issues, it is also an excellent oil for physiological issues as well.
Lavender is an easy plant for us to grow in Southern California, as it closely resembles the Mediterranean region where lavender seems to grow the best. If you could only have one oil to address stress and anxiety, lavender clearly comes out the winner! Now if we could only figure out how to diffuse the oil in war torn regions of the world, we might just come to know true peace!
Allison Stillman is a renowned aromatic alchemist, author and an expert on the historical use of essential oils in religious and spiritual ceremonies. Her book, The Sacred Art of Anointing is a result of her 30 years of research and practical experience with essential oils and anointing. To find out more: www.romancingthedivine.com or visit her on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/RomancingDivine?ref=ts